Could you be a local hero and become a Special Constable?
Our Special Constables are voluntary, part-time police officers who work in some of the most important areas of modern policing. Would you be willing to make a real difference to your community in Shropshire, Telford, Worcestershire or Herefordshire?
As a fully-trained Special Constable, you will have full police powers, wear a police uniform and work alongside regular police officers and police staff, with opportunities for promotion and to develop your leadership and management skills.
In return, you will be required to commit a minimum of 16 hours a month, although many people do significantly more as the hours can be flexible to fit around your work and home life commitments.
As a Special Constable, you’ll learn about policing, develop new skills, meet people, enjoy new experiences and protect people from harm. You will be fully trained to give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to handle even the most difficult of situations. It includes learning:
- about the police service and the duties of a police officer
- the powers of arrest
- common crimes
- personal protection
- problem solve
- how to prepare evidence for court
- how to deal with difficult situations or people.
As a result, our Special Constables discover new things about themselves and the depths of their capabilities.
Special Constables are unpaid, but you are entitled to certain allowances, including travel to and from your place of duty, boot allowance and compensation for any loss of earnings if you are required to attend court. The uniform is provided free of charge and includes kit such as radio, baton, handcuffs and Body Worn Video to help keep you safe.
The experience gained as a Special Constable is invaluable and can be a great stepping stone for furthering your career, whether in the police or developing your role elsewhere. Many new Special Constables hope to move on to become a regular police officer, either with West Mercia Police or with another UK force.
Being a Special Constable is a long-term commitment: there are several Special Constables in West Mercia Police who have completed over ten years' service and have made a real difference to people’s lives.
Roles and responsibilities
Special Constables work across a variety of policing teams, and when fully-trained can do everything that a regular police officer does, including:
- patrols on foot and in police vehicles
- roads policing
- searching people, vehicles and premises
- investigating crime, arresting suspects and taking statements from witnesses
- policing major events, such as festivals, marches and football matches
- tackling local issues, such as anti-social behaviour and harassment.
Training and development
Learning and Development Trainers provide the necessary knowledge and understanding to meet the needs of the organisation and that of the College of Policing.
After initial training, you’ll be attached to a Tutor Constable for approximately 9-12 months. During this time, you will complete a personal development portfolio covering various aspects of policing, and you are then signed off for independent patrol.
For those officers who commit the time and dedication, there are many opportunities available. There has been significant investment in our Problem Solving Hubs on each Local Policing Area, with plenty of opportunities for Special Constables which involve rural and business crime, licensing, modern slavery, human trafficking and missing people. You are able to apply to work with the following teams when vacancies are available:
Patrol: these are the frontline, uniformed teams that respond to 999 and 101 calls, as well as proactively patrolling and dealing with any crimes they come across.
Safer Neighbourhoods Teams: these teams are based at local police stations across the West Mercia policing area. They deal with high visibility patrols in high crime areas, community issues, anti-social behaviour and long-term problems in specific areas, as well as prevention, engagement and Intel gathering.
Operational Policing Units: these contain Roads Policing Officers, who have received fast roads training and are working on the frontline, as well as being deployed with pre-planned operations.
Police Support Units: these are the public order units that support other police services at football matches, protests and marches. They also respond to incidents of major disorder.
Special Constables are also able to assist with different areas of policing in a non-operational capacity, which may include analytical work, the use of media solutions and community engagement methods to contribute to our vision of ‘Protecting Communities from Harm’.
Once in role, there is the opportunity to progress through the rank structure of the Special Constabulary as follows:
Special Constabulary Sergeants are responsible for planning, organising and monitoring the activities of Special Constables under their area of responsibility, and providing effective leadership to their team. Their purpose is to assist the Special Inspector in driving the operational effectiveness of the Special Constabulary by delivering the leadership, support, development and motivation of Special Constables.
Special Constabulary Inspectors are responsible for the direction of Special Constables and Special Sergeants within their Local Policing Area, ensuring the delivery of a range of diverse policing services by the Special Constabulary and maintaining organisational standards. They also assist the Special Chief Inspector in driving the operational effectiveness of the Special Constabulary by delivering the leadership, support and development of Special Constables and Special Sergeants within the Local Policing Area.
Special Constabulary Chief Inspectors and above will provide strategic direction and leadership for the Special Constabulary, contribute to strategic development, set and maintain standards and ensure compliance with operational policies.
West Mercia Police values diversity and recognises that people with a variety of skills, attitudes and experiences, from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, bring fresh ideas and perspectives to policing. We are committed to fostering a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve, and encourage individuals from under-represented groups and communities to join us. To find out more, read about how our Positive Action programme supports applications from all under-represented groups, encompassing gender, people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME), disability and sexual orientation, or email our Positive Action team.
The information below details the basic eligibility criteria for Special Constables. Every circumstance is unique to each person of course, so if you have any queries about this information please get in touch with the Special Constabulary Recruitment Team.
To apply to the Police Service you must be at least 18 years old. There is no upper limit.
To be eligible for appointment you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and other foreign nationals are also eligible but only if they are resident in the UK free of restrictions.
If you have recently resided abroad we need to be able to check your previous three years, including employment, education and/or residency.
Applicants must be in good health, of sound constitution and able both physically and mentally to perform the duties of a Special Constable once appointed. The Home Office guidance states that applicants must have a body mass index (BMI) between 18-30.
Successful applicants will be asked prior to appointment to complete a medical questionnaire and an eyesight test.
Qualifications are not a requirement for appointment. However, you will need to pass the selection process, which includes a written test.
The Police Service has a policy of prohibiting any of their officers, staff or volunteers from becoming members of the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 or the National Front, whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality. If you are a member of the BNP or similar, your application will be rejected.
Convictions or cautions will not necessarily preclude you from appointment. It will depend on their nature and the circumstances of the offence. Failure to disclose convictions or cautions will, however, result in your application being refused.
If you have previously applied to join the Police Service and been unsuccessful, you may not re-apply for six months from the time you were notified of the outcome of your last application.
Certain occupations may preclude applicants from becoming special constables, for example neighbourhood and street wardens and other uniformed patrol wardens, and those involved in the administration of the law. Other roles which are precluded include security occupations which hold a Security Industry Association (SIA) licence.
Special Constables are in a privileged position with regard to access to information and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption. Applicants to the Police Service should not therefore be under pressure from undischarged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly. Most applicants have debts, such as mortgages, undischarged student or other loans, and credit/store cards. Debts which are within your means and are manageable are not a bar to appointment.
Applicants who have existing County Court judgements outstanding against then or have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have not been discharged will not be considered.
Applicants who have discharged County Court judgements may be considered.
Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have been discharged will only be considered after three years from discharge of the debt.
Applicants who are the subject of a current individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) may not be considered.
Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the Police Service. It depends on their size, nature and location. If you have tattoos on your face, neck, forearms or hands you will be asked to provide at least two photographs of each tattoo.
Tattoos are unacceptable if they:
- undermine the dignity and authority of the office of constable
- could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or invite provocation
- are garish or numerous or particularly prominent
- indicate unacceptable attitudes towards women, minority groups or any other section of the community
- indicate alignment with a particular group that could give offence to members of the public or colleagues
- are considered to be discriminatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating
Still not sure?
Start your application to be a Special Constable with West Mercia Police.